La Crosse Local

E.160: Jovy Rockey | Jovy Rockey Jewelry

Listen to “E.160: Jovy Rockey | Jovy Rockey Jewelry” on Spreaker.

I might do a very loose rendering on paper…things come more naturally to me when I actually start to fabricate them…(on creating new work).

Today we talked with Jovy Rockey, owner of Jovy Rockey Jewelry. We talked about origins, artistic influences, creating new work, creativity during the pandemic, upcoming events and where to find out more.

This podcast is sponsored by Artspire La Crosse.

Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by Artspire presented by the Pump House Regional Art Center to attract, engage, and connect artists in the community through an Art Fair and sale on Saturday, June 12. Information is that Today we talk with Jovy Rockey owner of Jovy Rockey Jewelry. We talked about origins, artistic influences, creating new work, creativity during the pandemic, upcoming events, and where to find out more. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website, I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.

Jovy Rockey 00:44
My name is Jovi Rockey, I was born in a very small town called Pittsburg, Kansas. I really got into, I mean, I’ve always been kind of crafty, but I got into jewelry mostly because I just love jewelry and a big collector of it. Yeah, I, I don’t know just kind of a weird thing that happened. My husband and I were somewhere and I was looking at some, like a beaded necklace or something. And I used to do loom beading and stitch beading and things. So I had bought like eight or not bought, I ordered this catalog from a company I used to order beads from like eons ago. And I had that at home, my husband kind of looked at it. And so we were in the store. And he was like, I feel like you could just make this, he was like, do you want me to just get the stuff for you. And you can make it and I was like, Sure, let’s do that. So I bought beads and some different, you know, odds and ends, made myself a few necklaces. And then I was like, Oh, this is, this is kind of nice. Like I enjoy this. Like it feels good. And so I made a few more. And then a friend of mine who had a like small little pop up gallery and Winona, she had an event. And so I just tried selling my stuff there. And it seemed to go over well. And so it just kind of kept growing into something. And then I had come across different types of wire jewelry. And so that really kind of enamored me. And then I really started just dabbling with copper and practicing a little bit, you know, bought some really basic tools. And then after that I used to work exclusively with stainless steel, mostly because it was, it was generally hypoallergenic. And some people are still sensitive to it. But most people can wear it. It doesn’t tarnish. It is like just kind of like a really industrious metal. And so it really holds its shape. Well, and I did that for a number of years. And then it just kind of progressed. From there. I started working with silver and then more of the precious metals and things. So and now here I am.

Brent Hanifl 02:43
Yes, so I’m just kind of going through your website, what are some of your artistic influences? I mean, they could be artists, or music or painters, or where do you get some of that?

Jovy Rockey 02:53
Yeah, um, I really love mid century art. And I mean, pretty much all things design from that era I really love and it’s a lot of curves and geometric shapes. And so you’ll see that in a lot of my work. One artist in particular, who I really love, who did some just beautiful, like, shapes and things was Art Smith. He was a jeweler in the 60s who became very famous, he was in New York, just some of the most stunning work. And then there’s another one who was more famous, I think for his sculpting but he also did jewelry, was Alexander Calder. He worked with a lot of brass did some really cool like, I don’t know, he just always had incorporated spirals a lot in his jewelry, but again, it was like very freeform. And yeah, just like that geometric sense of things. Use of negative space, too.

Brent Hanifl 03:49
How do you go about creating new work? Is it planned? Or is it something that people can work with you? Or how do you really come up with the ideas?

Jovy Rockey 03:57
Um, you know, I mostly I just kind of go for it. Like, I might have something I’ve visualized that I might kind of sketch on paper, I don’t draw very well. And I don’t draw to scale. So it’s often like I might do like a very loose rendering on paper of like, Okay, I think this is what I’m picturing. But really like, things come more naturally to me when I actually start to fabricate them. And I will just play with things at that point. And so I try to use, you know, obviously, I’m not going to use sterling silver every time I’m just messing with something because I could mess it up. So I often use copper or brass and then try to make a prototype. And then I just take notes. So you know, I do a lot of measuring in millimeters just because it seems to be much more accurate for me. And so I’ll just take notes of like where I bent things, how long the original, you know if it’s wire, like how long was that original piece? What did I do, and just write the steps down. I don’t really do much custom work right now. Mostly because I just don’t have the bandwidth for it. So I, my jewelry is like evolving in this into this new direction. So everything that I’ve done for the last almost eight years well, it’s been nine years now, but for most of the eight years was wire and it was cold forged jewelry. So I didn’t use any sort of heat applications, I just hand tooled everything, you know, hammers, cut things down, whatever, and then shaped them. And so now I’m starting to work with heat. I was awarded a grant in 2019, from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council. And so I used that grant to really further myself by buying all of the tools and you know, the acetylene tanks and the air purifier, and like all these different tools that I didn’t have that were more than what I could afford at the time. And so that has just really, like, pushed me into a whole other direction. So now I’m getting more into metal smithing, setting stones and things. So it’s all new to me in the sense of like, I only took one class that was early 2019 at a place called Quench Jewelry Arts in Minneapolis, who unfortunately, they ended up closing during the pandemic. I yeah, I’m in this whole new creative space. I guess I just like trying to make things and do things that I’ve never done before.

Brent Hanifl 06:22
So speaking of the pandemic, what have you learned about creativity during this past year? Has it been something that’s been helpful for you? Or is it just been a struggle, a little of both.

Jovy Rockey 06:35
You know, when things first shut down, I definitely pivoted to my jewelry, I have a brick and mortar store, where I sell work from a lot of different other artists, you know, a variety of other things. But that closed because I was nonessential. And so I quickly pivoted to my jewelry, I worked on a lot of things. I had some, you know, creative bursts of energy. But then as things began to reopen, it kind of changed. I don’t know, it’s it was a weird year for me, because I also ran for mayor. So I campaigned, that was really intense. And it took up a lot of my time. So I wasn’t really focusing on my creative life. By the end of the year, I was really quite burnt out and found out that I was extremely, like borderline anemic. And I and I was kept trying because I would like try to make jewelry and I’m like, I can’t do this. Like what is with me? Is this like, not for me anymore? And that was like, kind of scary because I that’s I feels like that’s my identity is like I’m a creative person. So yeah, getting all that stuff balanced out. By the time by the time February rolled around this year. I finally, like felt awake again. And like I cannot I can’t find enough time to be behind the bench, I do find it. I carve it out wherever I can. But God I if I could spend every day just making stuff I would.

Brent Hanifl 07:57
On that note, what are you excited for in the future through 2021, 2022? Is there anything that you’re pretty excited about?

Jovy Rockey 08:06
Yeah, I mean, again, kind of going back to what I was saying about finding this new work like that has been really exciting. I’ve done a lot of the same some, you know, similar designs, same kind of feel for a long time. I do sell wholesale a bit. So it’s kind of that aspect, my classic stuff has turned to kind of more production work for me. So though that’s what I’m really excited about is like the metal smithing, continuing to work with that and kind of elaborate it and hone those skills. I am doing a handful of events this year. So I’ll be at Artspire in La Crosse. Actually, that’s my very first Festival this year that I’m looking forward to. I haven’t yet decided but I think I may be applying for Art on the Green as well in La Crosse. I already applied for a couple of others in Minneapolis. When I was waitlisted for for Loring Park, the other one got cancelled, which was the Edina Art Fair, but I will be in Grand Marais in July as well for their art festival. So, which is one that I really love, and that’s one of my favorite places in the world. So really excited about that. But yeah, just trying to ease back in, it’s you know what feels good to have the opportunities to do it this year.

Brent Hanifl 09:17
So I mean, speaking of that, it’s kind of just kind of blowing out the doors and getting outside again to these art fairs. If people want to follow along, what’s the best avenue for them to you know, check out your work or maybe catch you at one of these shows?

Jovy Rockey 09:27
I would say social media, that’s where I’m most active. I have both Instagram and Facebook. I am much more active on Instagram if people use it, you know their stories and all kinds of things. So you get to see little glimpses behind the scenes of what’s happening. But yeah, and that’s at Jovy Rocky Jewelry. I think it’s Jovy_Rockey_Jewelry, actually.

Amy Gabay 09:52
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook @lacrosselocal. Find out more about us at And you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you’d like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.

About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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